Saturday, March 25, 2017




How Not To Teach Writing
Imagine how crazy it would be. An English teacher stands in front of a class and explains, "For every thought you have about the prompt, there is only one correct sentence that can use to express that thought. I'll be grading your essays based on how many of the correct sentences you use." Nobody teaches writing that way. Nobody says, "Okay, if you have an insight about Jake's injury in The Sun Al

MAR 23

MS: Paving Way for Vouchers
Mississippi has long been considered America's Armpit of Education. Educational lists? You name it, they've consistently ranked near the bottom. It qualified as news when Nevada beat them for dead last in EdWeek's Quality Counts list in 2016, because that was their first step up in years(and it can be argued that they didn't so much improve as Nevada just became even worse.) Sharing another excell

MAR 22

Which Choice Would You Choose?
If you were (or are) a parent, which one of the following options would you prefer? OPTION A Your neighborhood is served by a single public school. That school is well-staffed with a range of young and experienced professional educators, well-trained and committed to the needs of their students, and they are well-managed and well-paid so that they stay on as the foundation of a stable school commu

MAR 21 and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ad
The folks at put out this advertisement. I've never established a Hall of Fame here, but if I did, this letter would go into it: After watching your ad several times I am moved to do something I've never done before- write a company to complain of the image they are portraying of my profession. As a 15 year veteran teacher, I can assure you that my stress does NOT come from the student
MD: University Privatization
The University of Maryland University College is pioneering a new business model, and not everyone thinks it's a very good idea. George Kroner is a UMUC graduate and a former employee who worked on the tech side of things as UMUC developed a variety of on-line education and analytics programs (he is also, I should note, a former student of mine). But in the nine months since Kroner has left UMUC,
Netflix and the Myth of Personalization
Today Slate has an analysis of how Netflix began the process of personalizing marketing, of using "algorithms to micromanage distribution, not production" in particular in the multi-pronged marketing of House of Cards by creating multiple trailers to appeal to particular slices of the Netflix customer pool, based on their "likes." In the middle of the article, we find this paragraph: House of Card

MAR 20

IN: Vouchers and Changing the System
Indy Ed is a website devoted to exploring one idea-- "There are so many changes swirling around our schools that it’s hard to get straight answers." Their focus is Indianapolis, one more urban center suffering from a plethora of education problems, not the lest of which is a government that doesn't want to spend too many tax dollars on Those People. But Indy Ed seems to prefer focusing on that mo
The Map of the World
Boston Public Schools just caused a stir by adopting a new map of the world. " Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion "reads the headline in the The Guardian, and "amend" is a good choice of words, because BPS decided to replace one set of distortions with another. Boston had been using the Mercator Projection (1569), a version that we're all pretty familiar with. M

MAR 19

ICYMI: Quiet Sunday Edition (3/19)
Here's some reading for your lazy Sunday. Remember to pass on what you find useful! Did Betsy DeVos Just Ask States To Ignore Part of Federal Law? Nobody did a better job this week of explaining the problem with DeVos's comments on just who gets included in ESSA work than Valerie Strauss Damning a Student's Future with Old Data Nancy Bailey looks at one of the big problems with the work of our Dat

MAR 18

The Lost Years
After years of hearing how kindergarten has been turned into the new first grade, you'd think at the other end of the K-12 pipeline we would find highly advanced students. And yet-- not so much. I am not going to report a ton of 



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